Collaborative Procurement Partnership – Contributing to the future of the NHS

Our Business Review March 2021

 

Welcome to our business review

This document reflects on the progress, landmarks and challenges for Collaborative Procurement Partnership (CPP), particularly over the last 12 months.

CPP is a young organisation, established in May 2018, to carry out a vital role supporting the NHS in England.

We are a service provider to NHS Supply Chain, providing three contracts within the NHS Supply Chain Operating Model.

This means we are responsible for the procurement and contracts that allow the NHS to buy the products it needs for hospitals, ambulance trusts and community health services, including mental health services.

In simple terms, we are here to save the NHS money and improve patient care. You’ll find out more as you read on.

I hope you find this an interesting and informative read as we reflect on how much the organisation has grown over the past couple of years, how we helped the national response to the biggest challenge the NHS has faced in its more than 70 year history, and take a quick look ahead to the future.

Helen Lisle, Managing Director

 

Contents

 

·       A quick overview of our work

 

·       Our corporate objectives and our values

 

·       People

 

·       Finance and commercial

 

·       Governance and quality

 

·       Collaboration and partnerships

 

·       Looking ahead

 

A quick overview of our work

We put the contracts in place that ensure the NHS has the right equipment, products and services at the right price and the right quality for individual trusts or groups of trusts.

We also provide business analytics to support opportunity analysis for NHS trusts. By comparing the numbers on their existing spending on medical equipment, products and services we can offer trusts the best deals and savings opportunities from the contracts we have negotiated.

That requires a collaborative approach to get the best outcomes for patients and savings for trusts.

Our clinical teams work with their counterparts in trusts to make sure that any medical equipment or products we bring on board have been clinically assured, which means they deliver the highest patient safety standards, while meeting the specification requirements of clinicians to support them in carrying out their jobs efficiently.

We also work with our partners across the NHS Supply Chain model so that trusts receive a one-stop service from ordering through to delivery.

CPP is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) company and was set up in May 2018. We are owned by four NHS trusts – Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Partnership Foundation Trust, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. This means that instead of paying shareholders we reinvest money into health services. As a responsible company keen to play our part in the community, we operate to a range of agreed policies.

Did you know? Since CPP began we have saved the NHS at least £98m – and we think this figure will be more when finally validated.

There are four functions in our organisation:

·        Sterile intervention equipment and associated consumables

·        Orthopaedics, trauma and spine, and ophthalmology

·        Rehabilitation, disabled services, women’s health and associated consumables

·        Corporate function

Sterile intervention equipment and associated consumables:

A Category Service Provider to NHS Supply Chain, also known as Tower 2. It manages 10 contracts or frameworks: Examination and Surgical Gloves, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Patient Temperature Management, Pre-Operative Skin Preparation, Procedure Packs, Single Use Theatre Protective Clothing, Surgical Instruments, Surgical Mesh, Tray Wrap and Sterilisation Equipment and Wound Closure. Find out more about each framework at cpp.nhs.uk

Orthopaedics, trauma and spine, and ophthalmology:

A Category Service Provider to NHS Supply Chain, also known as Tower 4. It manages four frameworks, one for orthopaedics and three for ophthalmology: Total Orthopaedic Solutions 2, Complete Ophthalmology Solutions, Ophthalmic Capital Equipment and Associated Accessories and Intraocular Lenses, Ophthalmic Packs, Instruments, Consumables and Equipment. Find out more about each framework at cpp.nhs.uk

Rehabilitation, disabled services, women’s health and associated consumables:

A Category Service Provider to NHS Supply Chain, also known as Tower 5. It manages 18 frameworks in three broad areas: Continence, Urology and Stoma Care; Rehabilitation and Disabled Services; and Women’s Health.

The tower frameworks in the three areas are:

Stoma Care and Accessories, Urology, Bowel and Faecal Management, Disposable and Washable Continence Care and Associated Products.

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, Orthotic Services and Associated Consumables, Vascular Therapy and Associated Products, Powered and Non-powered Wheelchairs, Pressure Area Care Patient Handling, Aids for Daily Living including Walking Aids, Artificial Limb Components and Associated Products, Electronic Assistive Technology Products and Services, Immobilisation and Associated Products.

External Breast Prostheses, Bras and Associated Consumables, Infant Feeding and Associated Accessories, Maternity, Obstetrics and Gynaecological Products, Sexual Health and Associated Products, Surgical Implants for Men’s and Women’s Health, Wigs and Accessories. Find out more about each framework at cpp.nhs.uk

Corporate function:

Our corporate function consists of a group of professional services which support the organisation and its different functions. The services are Admin Support, Business Intelligence, Communications and Marketing, Contract and Compliance, Customer Service, HR and Operations. You can find out more about each of them at cpp.nhs.uk

Our corporate objectives and our values

We have four Corporate Objectives – People, Financial and commercial, Governance and quality and Collaboration and partnerships. Everything we do is governed by the CPP Values that were developed by our staff:

·        Committed

·        Respectful

·        Engaging

·        Driven

·        Innovative

·        Trustworthy

We are very proud that our staff played a significant role in the development of the CPP Values, as their input has driven belief in the values that they own and in turn we all live on a daily basis.

People

While we are a relatively small organisation, it is amazing to see how we have grown since 2018.

We now have nearly 150 staff who work across the country and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, largely from home.

We have invested in our staff - in their learning and development and in their health and wellbeing.

We want to be an employer of choice - put simply, a great place for people to work. Central to this is understanding what our colleagues need through continual engagement so we can listen and respond.

We have put in place the tools and mechanisms that support this two-way engagement process.

Most importantly, we have responded to what colleagues have told us.

Staff are kept informed on all business news and developments through monthly all staff calls, regular newsletters and updates, team meetings and staff conferences.

We prioritise our staff’s health and wellbeing, ensuring they have access to the support they need when they need it.

We ensure our pay and rewards are competitive in the marketplace and we also provide colleagues with a range of benefits.

When our staff had to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognised this would represent challenges for many. We put in place a whole range of support to ensure everyone had what they needed to work effectively and safely – while ensuring their mental wellbeing was supported too.

We feel this has all been reflected in our most recent staff survey results, which were very encouraging and positive, and provide strong building blocks for us in the future.

 

And our survey said …

Our most recent staff survey was carried out in October 2020. We were delighted that 74% of staff took part and the results were very encouraging and, most importantly, also showed us where we still had more work to do.

It was aligned to our CREDIT values and we saw improved responses across all areas from the survey carried out in February 2020.

Highlights included excellent scores on staff saying they would recommend our organisation as a good place to work and feeling proud to work for CPP.

Of course, there are areas where there is more work to do. These are being targeted through four workstreams:

           Health and wellbeing

           Communication

           IT and systems

           Learning and Development.

And they are already delivering real change for staff.

We have held two Health and Wellbeing Weeks, in November 2020 and February 2021, with advice, support and training for all our staff. We also launched our Buddies Scheme, to support new starters to the organisation by buddying them up with a colleague. We have also provided My Analytics tools to support staff in maximising the efficiencies in their working lives.

We have listened to staff to understand what they want to know and how they would like to be communicated with. A new staff intranet has been launched and we have a programme of speakers for our all-staff calls to keep colleagues informed about the work taking place across the organisation, not just in their own teams.

We have invested in technology to make data processing a faster and less time intensive process for staff and improved access to IT support and equipment. We have developed guidance for staff so they can see what systems are available to help them work effectively and productively.

Our learning and development workstream reviewed the induction programme for new starters which, along with the Buddies Scheme, will provide a welcoming introduction to the business and a way of helping new colleagues navigate systems and processes with ease. Trials of a new Skills Competency Framework for roles has taken place and will be rolled out across all roles. A new one-page learning template has also been trialled and will be shared so staff can easily access all the development opportunities available.

 

Pay, rewards and benefits

We provide competitive pay and rewards with a package of excellent benefits as we aim to attract and retain the highest calibre employees. We have responded to feedback from colleagues and when they asked us to look at consistency across the organisation, we set about creating a new reward package. We aimed to deliver pay equity - with a fair, assessed salary for the work done - and a route for pay progression.

This robust process involved benchmarking analysis of similar roles, aligning job roles and creating job families, developing a job evaluation process and agreeing with our Members’ Board a pay awards process related to performance and completion of mandatory training. In the final stage of the project the directors worked to align each post to the new salary scales.

In addition to the many benefits we offer, we also allow staff to buy or sell a percentage of their annual leave, depending on the hours they work.

In 2020 we introduced the Medicash health cash benefit. All staff are signed up to a level one scheme and have the option to pay for a higher level of cover if they wish. This can be used to get virtual GP appointments, as well as money towards the cost of dental, optician, chiropody and various alternative therapy treatments.

 

Supporting staff through the most challenging times

The importance of staff health and wellbeing is built into the fabric of CPP. The COVID-19 pandemic was testing for all of us and from the first lockdown we worked hard to ensure everyone had practical and emotional support.

We built upon existing provision, such as our Employee Assistance Programme, to ensure we catered for everyone’s needs – whether it was extra support for their mental health, an office chair for home or a range of weekly fun activities to help people engage with others and avoid feeling isolated.

Our teams had regular catch-up calls – just for a chat – and our Managing Director carried out wellness calls with groups of staff from across the organisation.

Essential visits to any office were scrupulously safe, with systems and processes in place to protect staff. Guidance was provided on many issues including working from home safely and caring for dependants.

We held our first Health and Wellbeing Week in November 2020 – around the time of the second national lockdown. There were daily activities, workshops and bulletins containing advice and information to help us all stay mentally and physically well.

And we have worked together to help others, with regular fundraising activities to support a whole range of charities including Save the Children, Dementia UK, Andy’s Man Club and many more.

 

Our Employee Consultation Group

More formal staff engagement has come through the creation of the Employee Consultation Group. It consists of 10 employee representatives who have been elected to represent either one of the towers, the corporate function or home workers. 

While this is not a negotiation or bargaining body, in the spirit of openness and transparency, the ECG is recognised formally by CPP as a body for communication and consultation with staff.

During the early weeks of the COVID outbreak, as we all adjusted to home working, the ECG played an important part, joining fortnightly wellbeing calls to ensure we were listening and acting on things that mattered most to staff during this time.

All staff are encouraged to raise any issues or ideas with their ECG representative to ensure we have a direct and two-way link between colleagues and senior management. Equally, the executive team can test ideas and initiatives through this valuable representative group.

 

Learning and development

We want to nurture staff talent through learning and development and provide a range of opportunities for our staff. We are a procurement organisation and offer professional qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. But our offer to staff reaches much further than procurement.

The Skills Development Network offers access to a full range of online training, including procurement training; staff have participated in the online project management training and there is also access to an IT Skills Pathway E-Learning on Excel, Word, PowerPoint, One Note and Outlook.

Alongside this there has been a range of corporate learning and development, including Discovery Insights on personal preferences to help build teams and improve communication between colleagues.

During 2020 we also took part in the entertaining Mary Gober International Learning sessions about how to communicate more effectively. MGI Learning has now developed an eLearning course for new colleagues. 

We also launched the online Learning Pool with a huge range of courses to aid personal development. It has also provided us with an efficient and effective way to provide mandatory training - the courses all staff need to do to comply with our legal or regulatory responsibilities.

A significant development in our learning and development portfolio for 2021 will be the new Leadership Management and Development Programme for managers and leaders and staff aspiring to these roles in the future. Eight intensive training modules delivered through our Learning Pool will cover many important areas including Conversations that Count, Managing Performance and Leading High Performing Teams.

 

This bespoke package of training is one of our priorities for the year and has been developed in response to intelligence and feedback gained through many different activities, including 1:2:1 discussions, performance appraisals and a review of the Discovery Insights reports undertaken by all CPP staff.

 

 

Finance and commercial

Our role is to contribute to the future of the NHS by making procurement savings. This work is carried out directly by our three towers, known as Category Tower Service Providers or CTSPs, with the support of the corporate function within CPP. 

The towers undertake the clinical evaluation of products and run procurement processes on-behalf of the NHS. CTSPs use category management techniques to create strategies that sustainably provide the NHS with clinically assured products at the best value. 

In the first two contract years, CPP has saved the NHS £98 million. We believe this figure will rise further when it is finally validated by Supply Chain Coordination Limited.

CPP receives a “gain share” based on the delivery of savings - the level of gain share is directly proportional to the level of savings delivered.  

This goes to our four owner NHS trusts, which means it is invested directly back into patient care. 

Our towers were initially contracted for three years to provide their services to NHS Supply Chain and in November 2020 we were delighted to hear that this had been extended for all three towers for another year – Contract Year 4. A further one-year extension can be granted provided key performance measures are met.

As part of the NHS Supply Chain family, our performance against contractual targets is managed by Supply Chain Coordination Ltd (SCCL), which is wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and is the management function of the NHS Supply Chain. 

 

Tower 2 recent highlights and challenges

In December 2019 Tower 2 delivered what proved to be a very timely project. In preparation for a pandemic the NHS had bought and stored millions of gloves to use in the event of an outbreak such as COVID-19. Once bought the gloves were kept in storage and the risk was that they would go out of date, meaning unused gloves would end up in landfill.

The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Programme (PIPP) Gloves Swap Out project saw the flu pandemic stock recycled into our business as usual stock to ensure no products expired, with new stock then going to replenish the pandemic stockpiles. This meant that when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived that the glove stock met the needs of the NHS and was ready for use.

Nationally, a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Procurement Cell was established to meet the COVID-19 demand from the NHS, social care and other partners.

Tower 2 had an important and varied role within the cell - leading the NHS Supply Chain orders and deliveries, sourcing products, technically assuring products, trouble shooting, contract management, inbound logistics and contributing to future strategies. 

To date, Tower 2 has ordered more than 8.6 billion pieces of PPE, with a value of £4.6 billion. Tower 2 was also involved in providing products to treat patients and enable the Nightingale hospitals to function.

One project that Tower 2 began as part of the COVID-19 response will also bring benefits to business as usual work. They led work to classify products in the PPE Cell and the Spend Comparison Service system, working closely with the national lead at NHS Improvement. This way of classifying products is being rolled out across all PPE and has proved so successful that in the future it will be used for all products purchased via NHS Supply Chain.

In addition to its response to the national pandemic, during 2020 Tower 2 has submitted one updated category strategy and four sourcing strategies, which were all approved, and reviewed nine category strategies. 

A Category Strategy sets out the approach the tower will take to procure products in a specific product category area. Category Strategies are a key deliverable and subject to approval from the SCCL prior to implementation.  

Alongside that the team has issued three national tenders and awarded one national contract.

 

Tower 4 recent highlights and challenges

In February 2020 Tower 4 went live with the Total Orthopaedic Solutions 2 framework agreement. This is the largest framework in the NHS with 250,000 products from 94 suppliers, including 62,924 additional products compared to its predecessor Total Orthopaedic Solutions 1.

Complete Ophthalmology Solutions 2 is currently out to tender and due to be awarded in spring 2021.

A focus on improved customer engagement during 2020 has seen Tower 4, working with communications and marketing, launch customer engagement guides for both ophthalmology and orthopaedics.

They have proved so successful this model is now going to be followed by other category towers across NHS Supply Chain. As well as the engagement guides Tower 4 also launched a customer charter for orthopaedics.

It was developed to provide clarity for trusts on what to expect when working with NHS Supply Chain through mobilisation, spend analysis, opportunity appraisal, implementation and lessons learnt.

Tower 4 supported our Business Intelligence team in its work to automate the benchmarking process for its products. This previously lengthy process can now be completed in a few hours and offers an improved service to customers by speeding up benchmarking exercises considerably.

During 2020 the team also agreed with SCCL new savings methodologies for rationalisation and Free On-Loan capital equipment.

The tower has also focused in 2020 on reviewing savings records in SCCL’s Oracle Engagement Cloud savings system. This is important as it ensures that customer trust savings reporting is both accurate and timely.

 

Tower 5 recent highlights and challenges

For the NHS Nightingale London hospital, the first of its kind, Tower 5 had to find, order, deliver and fit 500 beds and mattresses between 23 and 29 March 2020 to meet stand up requirements and government timeline

 

That work was then widened out to meet demand. The team worked with the Nightingale hospitals across England to ensure product specifications were nationally consistent and achievable given the unprecedented nature and urgency of the situation. It was important to ensure the needs of patients were met and the healthcare workforce was protected with equipment that would support their safety.

 

The latest figures are that they delivered 9,500 beds and 10,500 mattresses during the first COVID-19 pandemic period.

 

Tower 5 has also provided urology products and patient handling products, including one million catheters and urine meters and 10 million underpads, and has worked with the national Intensive Care Unit (ICU) surge team.

 

The team completed its Disposable and Washable Continence Care Strategy in 2020 and it has been shared with the Cabinet Office as an example of best practice.

 

The teams managing External Breast and Sexual Health were also praised by both their Reference Trusts and SCCL for the way they delivered their strategies and the framework launches.

 

The tower manages one of the highest numbers of categories within any Supply Chain Category Tower. The scale of what they successfully manage is demonstrated by the six new frameworks and NCPs they have launched in 2020, plus the eight contract extensions they have completed and the seven strategies that have been approved.

 

As we entered 2020 Tower 5 had four business cases from contract years 1 and 2 where there had been frustrated savings. By revisiting these and liaising closely with SCCL to provide the documentation they needed to validate the savings Tower 5 has been able to have four business cases approved.

 

One of these business cases, for Pressure Area Care, meant we were able to identify another £1 million saving for Contract Year 1 on top of the £1 million already delivered.

 

Part of the tower role within the Supply Chain Operating Model is to innovate and Tower 5 has done that with the value-based procurement work in the past year on the Catheterisation Tray project.

 

The project is now ready to roll out to NHS trusts and will offer them a tray with everything needed to carry out a catheterisation. The new product will help reduce the risk of human error, reduce infection rates, be more efficient and deliver a straight cost saving on the products trusts use now.

 

Corporate function recent highlights and challenges

The corporate function has an important role supporting the work of the towers and this has been significantly developed during 2020.

 

We started off the year with a Data Team and finished it with a Business Intelligence Team instead. This focus on business intelligence saw us introduce the CPP BI platform and achieve our first milestone on the BI roadmap - the automation of our benchmarking process.

 

Using Alteryx technology, we can now convert Excel spreadsheets for benchmarking exercises in minutes instead of the days it previously took. One recent achievement saw 130 benchmarks turned around in less than seven hours.

 

A new supplier web portal has been developed for launch in 2021. This efficient new system will allow suppliers to load data monthly, rather than receiving repeated requests. This data is important to give us a better understanding of the market which in turn helps us to more accurately forecast the needs of the NHS. As well as helping us understand this in “business as usual” times, it will help us ensure the market is prepared for extraordinary times.

 

Using the subject expertise of our savings team we have implemented Oracle Engagement Cloud (OEC) record management and forecast reporting. This has given us a single and consistent view of savings across the towers and allowed the teams to manage savings performance in one place.

 

Our helpdesk team was praised by SCCL as a model of best practice for the way product safety complaints are handled and now other non-CPP towers are being asked to follow our approach.

 

Our communications team has launched the new CPP website. The mobile friendly site will provide a better platform to showcase CPP and what we do. A new staff intranet has been developed and launched to make it easier for staff to find the information they need to do their jobs.

As COVID-19 has shown any business must have effective plans to cope with the unexpected. And during a recent SCCL contract compliance audit we received a significant assurance rating on our approach to business continuity and disaster recovery.

During COVID-19 our corporate teams have played an important role too. Our customer service team helped field customer and supplier queries about Personal Protective Equipment.

 

As a business we also needed another response to the pandemic - one to change the way we operated the business. Our corporate function was heavily involved in this. Our operations, HR, and communications and marketing teams acted quickly to ensure CPP staff could work from home in a safe way, have a health and wellbeing support network in place and be kept informed about what was going on in a world of fast-paced changes.

 

Governance and quality

Good governance is at the heart of any successful business and has been a real focus for us in 2020.

CPP has a Members’ Board with representatives from the four NHS trusts which jointly own us. They are responsible for setting the vision, strategy and overall direction of the company.

They are supported by an Executive Team made up of our managing director and the organisation’s four directors, who provide the strategic leadership of our team.

Working alongside them is our Senior Management Team which bridges the strategic and operational parts of the business.

This year our risk management and governance capabilities were enhanced by the addition of our two Non-Executive Directors.

You can find out more about our team by visiting our website cpp.nhs.uk

In 2020 a full review was carried out of our policy suite, standardising the way we manage, review and create policies.

We successfully completed several SCCL audit activities. For example, demonstrating our compliance to Category Tower Service Contract obligations.

We have also continued to make advances in our transformation journey towards becoming a more technology and intelligence focused business.

We have successfully introduced our Business Intelligence capabilities with Alteryx Workflow, Power BI Insights and a Supplier MI Capture Portal being added to our operating landscape.

All these steps and many more are important to ensure that we maintain and improve our performance.

We need to constantly review and respond to the changing nature of the environment we operate in, to ensure we are a leader in our field and a partner of choice.

In 2020 we created several working groups designed to underpin our overarching governance structure. Our Health and Safety, Risk Management, IT and Security and Sustainability working groups provide input from across the organisation into Senior Management and Executive discussions. We plan to introduce more working groups in the future.

 

Comprehensive reviews

 

We have carried out a full review of our Data Protection and Information Security policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and in line with current legislation and regulatory requirements.

 

We also carried out a comprehensive review of our 48 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to add assurance and ensure our processes are efficient, provide consistency and are effective. This activity is part of our rolling 12-month Assurance Plan.

 

We have continued to review our Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) Policy. Two tests were carried out during the year, aligned to our key objectives, with lessons learned and actions taken to improve our future response. A full test schedule has been developed up to April 2021 as we continue to develop and refine our plans.  

 

Technology

We have set out our technology roadmap to transform our analytics from a desktop capability using Microsoft Excel to a mature Business Intelligence (BI) capability.

The first milestone of the road map has been achieved with the transformation from benchmarking using Excel spreadsheets to an automated benchmark workflow using Alteryx.

Using Alteryx, the consolidation of supplier pricing files for evaluation, preparation of catalogues and benchmarks has been dramatically transformed from a manual process requiring many resource hours to an efficient process done within minutes.

We have now started on our second and third roadmap milestones – which will minimise the data processing required to be undertaken by the towers.

 

Collaboration and partnerships

We work closely across our organisation, bringing together the talent and skills of our teams to ensure we can innovate, develop and deliver a high-quality service for the NHS.

While we are made up of three towers and a corporate function, we work as one team with a joint purpose - to contribute to the future of the NHS

As a provider to the NHS Supply Chain, we work closely with the teams within its management function, SCCL.

But our partnership work extends much further to include health and care professionals across the country, patient and user groups and suppliers to the NHS.

All our work with these groups is to help ensure we provide the best outcomes for patients and savings for NHS trusts.

We engage with them through a range of forums, as well as building strong working relationships through our procurement and clinical teams.

Our clinical teams work with their counterparts in trusts to make sure that any medical equipment or products we bring on board have been clinically assured.

This means they deliver the highest patient safety standards, while meeting the specification requirements of clinicians to support them in carrying out their jobs efficiently.

We also hold events, surveys and consultations to ensure vital views and feedback are built into the work we do for the NHS.

For example, our teams have:

·        taken part in national round table discussions on surgical instruments

·        run clinical workshops with surgeons, theatre nurses and procurement specialists from hospital trusts

·        been shortlisted for a national award for their engagement with independent clinicians to develop robust technical specifications and clinical product for a framework.

There are six Clinical Engagement and Implementation Managers in Tower 2 and one National Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager. All hold professional qualifications in a healthcare discipline with a variety of clinical backgrounds and experiences across healthcare and industry, including working in national and regional procurement roles.

They are integrated into the tower’s category teams and work with them through engagement with stakeholders to ensure that the products made available through the tower’s frameworks meet the needs of the NHS both now and in the future. All products listed undergo a rigorous review process to ensure they deliver quality, safety and value to the NHS. The Clinical Engagement and Implementation Managers support trusts to review their product portfolios, identifying where savings can be made through implementing product switches. They then support these changes both at a local and national level.

Tower 2 has established Lead Reference Trusts and Sourcing Groups. Lead Reference Trusts were established as a critical friend for input into category and sourcing strategies. They chair the tower’s Sourcing Groups, for each procurement carried out. The groups are made up of a mixture of clinical and non-clinical customers and act as a critical friend for input into category and sourcing strategies.

In Tower 4 Clinical Engagement and Implementation Managers lead focused and engaged processes working closely with trust procurement leads and clinicians to drive projects forward. The team includes highly skilled and knowledgeable colleagues with first-hand experience of orthopaedic theatres and patient care, as well as commercial and product specialists from the orthopaedic industry, who are working in theatres with clinical leads up and down the country.

They also work closely with the national Getting it Right First Time programme, designed to improve the quality of care within the NHS and reduce unwarranted variations.

Other invaluable partners are the National Orthopaedic Alliance and the UK Ophthalmology Alliance, which bring together key stakeholders from across the NHS. Clinical leads from the alliances are a vital consultancy in the tower’s procurement planning.

The tower has also started new National Stakeholder Groups for both the orthopaedics and ophthalmology categories. They will involve procurement, care group managers, clinical colleagues and theatre staff from across the NHS.

The aim is to ensure the tower has a strategy and commercial structure which meets the needs of all NHS trusts in England, allowing for any changes in the landscape. The group will ensure diversity of opinion and breadth of understanding.

Tower 5 has established a Clinical Engagement and Implementation team made of up healthcare professionals. The team members, comprising of senior nurses, a paramedic and physiotherapist, were recruited for their experience and portfolio of clinical work. 

The team cumulatively has experience of care delivery within acute and primary care environments, with specialist skills and experience working within rehabilitation and reablement, long-term care, high care (for example intensive care, coronary care and acute stroke care), women’s health and health promotion. 

The team members, comprising award-winning senior healthcare professionals, have worked at local, regional and national level supporting and developing NHS health initiatives.

Working with a dynamic community partnership team, they aim to ensure the quality and function of products meet the needs of health professionals, are suited to the environment they are used in, and support effective patient outcomes.

The team is currently working on a large programme, with heightened significance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at systems to empower patients to self-care for venous leg ulceration/disease. This aims to reduce direct face-to-face contacts, the risk to vulnerable patients and the pressure on healthcare services and clinicians.


Looking ahead

·        Delivering for the NHS – By meeting our savings targets in contract year four and in turn delivering the gain share for our four owner NHS trusts so it can be invested back into patient care

·        Strong governance – Ensuring we have robust measures in place to manage risk

·        Partner of choice – By attracting and retaining the very best talent and delivering a first-class service to our NHS Supply Chain partner

·        Valuing our people – Investing in their learning and development, health and wellbeing and fair pay and rewards

·        Strong customer and clinical engagement – Building on the solid foundations to further develop our work with partners

·        Innovation – Using innovation and the latest technology to bring about further benefits for the NHS.